• A new subfamily of fossorial colubroid snakes from the Western Ghats of peninsular India

      DEEPAK, V; Ruane, S; Gower, DJ (Informa UK Limited, 2019-01-18)
      We report molecular phylogenetic and dating analyses of snakes that include new mitochondrial and nuclear DNA sequence data for three species of the peninsular Indian endemic Xylophis. The results provide the first molecular genetic test of and support for the monophyly of Xylophis. Our phylogenetic results support the findings of a previous, taxonomically restricted phylogenomic analysis of ultraconserved nuclear sequences in recovering the fossorial Xylophis as the sister taxon of a clade comprising all three recognised extant genera of the molluscivoran and typically arboreal pareids. The split between Xylophis and ‘pareids’ is estimated to have occurred on a similar timescale to that between most (sub)families of extant snakes. Based on phylogenetic relationships, depth of molecular genetic and estimated temporal divergence, and on the external morphological and ecological distinctiveness of the two lineages, we classify Xylophis in a newly erected subfamily (Xylophiinae subfam. nov.) within Pareidae.
    • A new telluride topology: the crystal structure of honeaite Au3TlTe2

      Welch, MD; Still, JW; Rice, CM; Stanley, Christopher (Cambridge University Press, 2017-06)
      The crystal structure of the first thallium-bearing gold telluride, honeaite Au3TlTe2, is reported and its topological novelty discussed. Honeaite is orthorhombic, space group Pbcm and unit-cell parameters a = 8.9671(4), b = 8.8758(4), c= 7.8419(5) Å, V = 624.14(6) Å3 (Z = 4). Its structure has been refined to R 1 = 0.033, w R 2 = 0.053, Goof = 1.087. The structure is based upon a corrugated double-sheet comprising two sub-sheets, each composed of six-memberedrings of corner-linked TeAu3 pyramids in which the Te lone pair is stereoactive. Rows of thallium atoms lie in the grooves between sheets and provide the only inter-sheet connectivity via Tl-Au bonds. There is extensive Au-Au bonding linking the two sub-sheets of the double-sheet.The structure is distinct from those of the 1:2 (Au,Ag)-tellurides: calaverite AuTe2, sylvanite AuAgTe4 and krennerite Au3AgTe8, which are based upon sheet structures with no connecting inter-sheet atoms. It also differs fundamentally from the structuresof synthetic phases Ag3TlTe2 and Ag18Tl4Te11, both of which have an analogous stoichiometry. In contrast to the pyramidal TeAu3 group of honeaite and krennerite, Ag does not form the corresponding TeAg3 group in itstellurides.
    • New, north-easternmost locality for Bembidion monticola Sturm, 1825 (Coleoptera: Carabidae) in Europe: relict of ancient distribution or a result of range expansion?

      Kovalenko, YN; Telnov, Dmitry (Entomological Society of Finland, 2018-09-17)
      A new record of a subpopulation of Bembidion monticola Sturm, 1825 from Arkhangelsk region (Northern Europe, Russia) is discussed. The locality of this record is remote, about 700 km to the east from the northernmost previously known locality of this species. Ecology and distribution of B. monticola in northern Europe are reviewed, as well as possible ways of its spread further to northeast are hypothesised.
    • Next-Generation Mitogenomics: A Comparison of Approaches Applied to Caecilian Amphibian Phylogeny

      Maddock, ST; Briscoe, AG; Wilkinson, M; Waeschenbach, A; San Mauro, D; Day, JJ; Littlewood, T; Foster, PG; Nussbaum, RA; Gower, DJ; et al. (2016-06-09)
    • Ngwevu intloko: a new early sauropodomorph dinosaur from the Lower Jurassic Elliot Formation of South Africa and comments on cranial ontogeny in Massospondylus carinatus

      Chapelle, KEJ; Barrett, PM; Botha, J; Choiniere, JN (PeerJ Inc., 2019-08-05)
      Our knowledge of Early Jurassic palaeobiodiversity in the upper Elliot Formation of South Africa has increased markedly in recent years with the discovery of new fossils, re-assessments of previously collected material and a better understanding of Stormberg Group stratigraphy. Here, Ngwevu intloko, a new genus of upper Elliot basal sauropodomorph is named on the basis of a complete skull and partial skeleton (BP/1/4779) previously assigned to Massospondylus carinatus. It can be distinguished from all other basal sauropodomorphs by a combination of 16 cranial and six postcranial characters. The new species is compared to a small ontogenetic series of M. carinatus as well as to a range of closely related taxa. Taphonomic deformation, sexual dimorphism and ontogeny are rejected as possible explanations for the morphological differences present between BP/1/4779 and other taxa. Osteohistological examination reveals that BP/1/4779 had nearly reached adult size at the time of its death at a minimum age of 10 years.
    • NHM Science and Society Blog. New plans for the Museum's green spaces: connecting people and nature

      Tweddle, JC (Natural History Museum, 2016-07-08)
      A little over a month ago, the Museum applied for planning permission to continue with an ambitious transformation of its outdoor spaces. Drs John Tweddle, Paul Kenrick and Sandy Knapp of the Museum’s Science Group provide the background to the project and clarify its impact on the Wildlife Garden.
    • No specimen left behind: industrial scale digitization of natural history collections

      Blagoderov, V; Kitching, I; Livermore, L; Simonsen, TJ; Smith, V (2012-07-20)
    • Nomenclatural notes on Anthicidae and Pyrochroidae (Coleoptera). 6

      Telnov, Dmitry (Baltijas Koleopterologijas Instituts/Baltic Institute of Coleopterology, 2018-12-23)
      Five new combinations, three new synonyms and two new statuses for the Anthicidae are proposed. New distributional data or corrections are provided on 65 taxa of Pyrochroidae and Anthicidae. Eighteen new species and subspecies are described: Anthelephila panayensis sp. nov., Anthicus (s. str.) chitwanus sp. nov., A. (s. str.) lepcha sp. nov., A. (s. str.) vicinor sp. nov., Aulacoderus muehlei sp. nov., Clavicomus garze sp. nov., C. kham sp. nov., Cyclodinus phragmiteticola sp. nov., Macratria dotyali sp. nov., M. kopetzi sp. nov., M. leprieuri gasconica ssp. nov., Macratriomima casuarius sp. nov., M. chandleri sp. nov., Notoxus reuteri sp. nov., Rimaderus bonadonai sp. nov., R. sahyadri sp. nov., Stenidius obliquesetosus sp. nov., and Tomoderus schmidti sp. nov. Additional description is given for Anthelephila kresli Kejval, 2007 and Yunnanomonticola Telnov, 2002.
    • Non-native species

      Cottier-Cook, EJ; Clark, PF; Beveridge, C; Bishop, JDD; Brodie, J; Epstein, G; Jenkins, SR; Johns, DG; Loxton, J; MacLeod, A; et al. (2017)
    • Norilskite, (Pd,Ag)7Pb4, a new mineral from Noril'sk-Talnakh deposit, Russia

      Vymazalova, A; Laufek, F; Sluzhenikin, SF; Stanley, Christopher (Cambridge University Press, 2017-06)
      Norilskite, (Pd,Ag)7Pb4 is a new platinum-group mineral discovered in the Mayak mine of the Talnakh deposit, Russia. It forms anhedral grains in aggregates (up to ∼400 μm) with polarite, zvyagintsevite, Pd-rich tetra-auricupride, Pd-Pt bearing auricupride,Ag-Au alloys, (Pb,As,Sb) bearing atokite, mayakite, Bi-Pb-rich kotulskite and sperrylite in pentlandite, cubanite and talnakhite. Norilskite is brittle, has a metallic lustre and a grey streak. Values of VHN20 fall between 296 and 342 kg mm–2, with a mean valueof 310 kg mm–2, corresponding to a Mohs hardness of ∼4. In plane-polarized light, norilskite is orange-brownish pink, has moderate to strong bireflectance, orange-pink to greyish-pink pleochroism, and strong anisotropy; it exhibits no internal reflections. Reflectancevalues of norilskite in air (Ro, Re' in %) are: 51.1, 48.8 at 470 nm, 56.8, 52.2 at 546 nm, 59.9, 53.5 at 589 nm and 64.7, 55.5 at 650 nm. Sixteen electronmicroprobe analyses of natural norilskite gave an average composition: Pd 44.33, Ag 2.68, Bi 0.33 and Pb 52.34, total99.68 wt.%, corresponding to the empirical formula (Pd6.56Ag0.39)∑6.95(Pb3.97Bi0.03)∑4.00 based on 4 Pb + Bi atoms; the average of eight analyses on synthetic norilskite is: Pd 42.95, Ag 3.87 and Pb 53.51, total 100.33wt.%, corresponding to (Pd6.25Ag0.56)∑6.81Pb4.00. The mineral is trigonal, space group P3121, with a = 8.9656(4), c = 17.2801(8) Å, V = 1202.92(9) Å3 and Z = 6. The crystalstructure was solved and refined from the powder X-ray diffraction data of synthetic (Pd,Ag)7Pb4. Norilskite crystallizes in the Ni13Ga3Ge6 structure type, related to nickeline. The strongest lines in the powder X-ray diffraction patternof synthetic norilskite [d in Å (I) (hkl)] are: 3.2201(29)(023,203), 2.3130(91)(026,206), 2.2414(100)(220), 1.6098(28)(046,406), 1.3076(38)(246,462), 1.2942(18)(600), 1.2115(37)(22.12,12.13), 0.9626(44) (06.12,60.12). The mineral is named for the locality, the Noril'sk district in Russia.
    • North Africa's first stegosaur: Implications for Gondwanan thyreophoran dinosaur diversity

      Maidment, Susannah; Raven, TJ; Ouarhache, D; Barrett, PM (Elsevier BV, 2019-08-16)
      Eurypoda, the major radiation of armoured dinosaurs, comprises the ankylosaurs and their sister group, the stegosaurs. As the earliest-branching major clade of ornithischian dinosaurs, the evolutionary history of Eurypoda is significant for understanding both the palaeobiology of bird-hipped dinosaurs and the composition of middle Mesozoic ecosystems. Eurypodans were diverse and abundant throughout the Late Jurassic and Cretaceous in Laurasia; in contrast, their remains are extremely rare in Gondwana. Herein, we describe a new genus and species of stegosaur from the Middle Jurassic of Morocco, Adratiklit boulahfa. Adratiklit is the first eurypodan from north Africa and the oldest definitive stegosaur from anywhere in the world. The genus is more closely related to the European stegosaurs Dacentrurus and Miragaia than it is to the southern African taxa Kentrosaurus and Paranthodon. Statistically significant correlations between the number of dinosaur-bearing formations, dinosaur-bearing collections, and eurypodan occurrences in Gondwana indicates that their fossil record is biased by both geological and anthropogenic factors. Tantalizing but fragmentary remains and trackways suggest that eurypodan diversity in Gondwana may have been as rich as that of Laurasia, and the prospects for future discoveries of new genera across Gondwana are therefore very good.
    • North Andean origin and diversification of the largest ithomiine butterfly genus

      Lisa De-Silva, D; Mota, LL; Chazot, N; Mallarino, R; Silva-Brandão, KL; Piñerez, LM; Freitas, AV; Lamas, G; Joron, M; Mallet, J; et al. (2017-12)
    • Notes on the sinistral helicoid snail Bertia cambojiensis (Reeve, 1860) from Vietnam (Eupulmonata, Dyakiidae)

      Sutcharit, C; Naggs, F; Ablett, J; Sang, PV; Hao, LV; Panha, S (Pensoft Publishers, 2019-11-04)
      Since the time of the original description there have been no precise locality records in Cambodia of Bertia cambojiensis (Reeve, 1860) and it was believed to be extinct. In 2012, a joint Natural History Museum survey with Vietnamese colleagues rediscovered living populations of this huge sinistral helicoid snail in a protected area of southern Vietnam. The genitalia and radula morphology are re-assessed and type specimens of all recognised congeners are figured herein. The unique morphological characters of this species are a small and simple penis, well-developed amatorial organ complex that incorporates four amatorial organ ducts, a short gametolytic organ complex and spiked papilla, and radula morphology with unicuspid teeth. The type locality of B. cambojiensis, which has been contentious, is determined here to be in the vicinity of ‘Brelum’, Vietnam, near the border with Cambodia. In addition, the nucleotide sequences of barcoding genes COI, 16SrRNA and 28S fragments were provided for further comparison.
    • A Novel Automated Mass Digitisation Workflow for Natural History Microscope Slides

      Allan, Louise; Livermore, L; Price, BW; Shchedrina, O; Smith, V (Pensoft Publishers, 2019-03-01)
      The Natural History Museum, London (NHM) has embarked on an ambitious programme to digitise its collections. One aim of the programme has been to improve the workflows and infrastructure needed to support high-throughput digitisation and create comprehensive digital inventories of large scientific collections. This paper presents the workflow developed to digitise the entire Phthiraptera (parasitic lice) microscope slide collection (70,663 slides). Here we describe a novel process of semi-automated mass digitisation using both temporary and permanent barcode labels applied before and during slide imaging. By using a series of barcodes encoding information associated with each slide (i.e. unique identifier, location in the collection and taxonomic name), we can run a series of automated processes, including file renaming, image processing and bulk import into the NHM’s collection management system. We provide data on the comparative efficiency of these processes, illustrating how simple activities, like automated file renaming, reduces image post-processing time, minimises human error and can be applied across multiple collection types.